|artwork by Tamara Peterson|
NASB: bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Amplified: Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].
NET: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.
Phillips: Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you.
Wuest: bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a matter of complaint against anyone. Even as and in the degree that the Lord forgave you, in the same manner also you forgive.
Young's Literal: forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if anyone with any one may have a quarrel, as also the Christ did forgive you -- so also ye;
Forgave, also from the Greek word charizomai, means God bestowed forgiveness as a gift out of the marvelous, infinite riches of His grace. He gave help to those who did not deserve and could never earn it. He canceled our humanly unpayable sin debt. So here the Apostle Paul is saying that believers now are to forgive others because God forgave us. Not only that, but that we are to forgive others to the degree that He forgave us which is full and unconditional.
Pastor John Eadie writes, “Christians are to forgive one another because Christ has forgiven them, for His example has all the force of a formal command. They are also to forgive one another as He has forgiven them—fully and freely, at once and for ever; not pardoning seven times, but demurring to the seventy times seven; not insulting him who has injured them by the rigid exaction of a humiliating apology, or stinging him by a sharp and unexpected allusion to his fault; not harboring antipathy, but forgetting as well as forgiving; not indulging a secret feeling of offence, and waiting for a moment of quiet retaliation; but expelling every grudge from their hearts by an honest and thorough reconciliation.”
Missionary Stan Mooneyham was walking along a trail in East Africa with some friends when he became aware of a delightful odor that filled the air. He looked up in the trees and around at the bushes in an effort to discover where it was coming from. Then his friends told him to look down at the small blue flower growing along the path. Each time they crushed the tiny blossoms under their feet, more of its sweet perfume was released into the air. Then his friends said, "We call it the forgiveness flower." This forgiveness flower does not wait until we ask forgiveness for crushing it. It does not release its fragrance in measured doses or hold us to a reciprocal arrangement. It does not ask for an apology; it merely lives up to its name and forgives—freely, fully, richly. What a touching example of outrageous forgiveness!
Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn't sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest. "His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks." "Up in the church tower," he said, nodding out the window, "is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down." "And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force—which was my willingness in the matter—had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts."
When others affect the course of your life, you face a moment of decision. Though you cannot change the past, you can affect the future by your response to the wrong you suffered at their hands. You can feed the fire of bitterness, or you can hold your scars before God and ask for grace to forgive others for what they have done in the past. As Christians, we have been forgiven a debt so massive that we could never repay it. If you want to show Christ to a world that is seeking love, remember what Christ has freely given you, and then extend that mercy to others. Jesus provided for this through His finished work on the cross. He died so that we would be pardoned and restored to the Father. When we come to Jesus, He forgives our sins of the past and all the sins we will ever commit. But we who are forgiven much must love and forgive others much! Do you need to forgive someone today? What relationship needs restoration? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any areas where you need to practice forgiveness. God is ready to provide the grace to enable us to forgive and to experience being fully forgiven ourselves. Then we will know the joy God gives as we move from grudges to grace and are ready for prayer.
Look Up—meditate on Colossians 3:13
Look In—as you meditate on Colossians 3:13 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.
Look Out—as you meditate on Colossians 3:13 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.